Opinion: Why the Shield Triple Threat for the Universal Title should be the Main Event of WrestleMania 35
It has only been a few months since WWE WrestleMania 34 graced our TV screens and speculation on potential main events for the next instalment of the Grandest Stage of them all has already begun.
However, for the first time after a long while, there's a genuine intrigue as to which match can be thrust into that slot come to WrestleMania. This is primarily owing to the fact that the last few years have seen way too early confirmations on the match that will close out the show months before they actually happened.
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Rumours of Charlotte Flair vs Ronda Rousey, a potential dream match between The Rock and Roman Reigns, a rematch between The Undertaker and John Cena; and others have circulated in the dirt sheets since April this year.
There is, however, one match, which all factors considered, absolutely has to close out WrestleMania 35 and that match is Dean Ambrose vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins for the Universal title.
The Shield has been the greatest modern-day success story that WWE has home-produced. From its rebellious debut to its rise in prominence, to being disbanded in a shocking turn of events, to all men going on and becoming legitimate headliners, the Shield was the nearest thing to perfection that WWE has come across in years, if not decades.
With the company constantly being subjected to fan's criticism for over-exposing everything good to level: "exhaustion", it's shocking to realise that the three newly reformed Shield members have never really collided in a triple-threat setting post Shield dissolution, apart from that one time they did in 2016 on that B-show called "Battleground".
Many external circumstances factored in to make it more of a forgettable outing that was already doomed from the start. Reigns' untimely suspension during the build (which itself was extremely short), the pending brand split, not clearly defined babyfaces or heels, involvement from authority figures, everything resulted in a rushed story-line which never gave chance for the fans to really sink their teeth into.
However, luckily the mere idea of seeing these former brothers tear into each other for the top prize in the company made for an intense fan engagement when everything was said and done. While the Shield together or each member individually has always enjoyed a consistently loud crowd reception, it's when they go against each other when the magic happens. So it's a no-brainer that WWE will go back at it sooner or later, and there can be no better place for it than the main event of WrestleMania 35.
For starters, it would be a sure-shot blockbuster of a main event which will command fans' reactions, which other matches like Flair vs Rousey would simply not be able to do nearly 7 hours into the show. WrestleMania for the past few years have been such a long event that the main event is the riskiest slot of them all.
It can easily be turned into a dud with lack of fan reactions and overall enthusiasm (see WrestleMania 32, 33 & 34) due to the length of the show. One thing the Shield Triple Threat can promise on any given PPV card is the loudest fan reception today (be it in the main event or not).
While the World Championships are the kayfabe crown in the WWE Universe, the real deal is the main event of WrestleMania. Not all world champions in history have main-evented WrestleMania which makes it the most prestigious badge in the company, and a sign of management's trust and plans for the superstars involved.
The slot has almost been reserved for already made-men in several recent years that it is baffling to realize that since WrestleMania 24 (a decade ago), only three young up-and-comers have been honoured with the main event slot i.e. Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan and The Miz, with Reigns being the only one consistently getting a slot alongside some old part-timer ever since Wrestlemania 31.
Remember in 2016 when the WWE went out of its way to push the "New Era" amidst the fans to the point where there was no escape? Let alone WrestleMania, the same year SummerSlam was main-evented by Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton for no title, Survivor Series was main-evented by Lesnar and Goldberg for no title and Royal Rumble was headlined by Undertaker, Lesnar and Goldberg.
It's high time some new blood is thrust into the WrestleMania main-event picture and there cannot be anyone more worthy to hold the mantle than Rollins and Ambrose along with Reigns. WWE will get its way with having Reigns headline yet another 'Mania but this time it will be alongside fellow up-and-comers.
It's not like the WWE has not shown faith in Rollins before, after all he was the first member of the Shield to ever hold a world championship (that too after cashing in his MITB contract in the main event of WrestleMania itself), has always been featured in one of the top matches on any Wrestlemania card since, was the one who beat Reigns and Cena clean back-to-back in the terrific Raw Gauntlet and has the most number of PPV main events of the three group members to date.
Ambrose, on the other hand, is the problem child of the three. He was clearly the de-facto leader of the Shield in its original run and was by far the most popular of the three coming out of it, but WWE has never fully committed to him since. Although he won the WWE championship in an epic fashion, his run as the champion was anything but top-notch.
To give credit where it's due, Ambrose has proven time and time again that if there's an iron man in the current WWE roster, it's him. Having the most number of matches and wrestling appearances almost every year since 2012, he was the Knight in shining Armour when the company was marred by a long list of injuries come Wrestlemania 32. It's time WWE once and for all propel Ambrose permanently to the main event stature, and a match with his Shield brethren in the main event of WrestleMania will do just that.
It's good that WWE is (reportedly) considering putting the women in the main event of WrestleMania and it will truly be historic but there are several problems with that. The match will be less about the participants involved and more about WWE putting on its own back with what it has done to the Women's Revolutions.
Both in and outside of the squared circle, the women actually involved in the match will take a back-seat to say Stephanie McMahon literally taking all the credit for what has sadly been more of a buzz killer till now than anything real done for the women. It will be smart for WWE to come back to this idea only when they're ready to put the real spotlight on the female performers rather than brag about being kind enough to put the spotlight on them.
The WWE need to understand that they cannot replicate the John Cena/Hulk Hogan era anymore since the fans now want to invest in multiple authentic main eventers. The Shield Triple threat main event will truly give WWE more than just one young bonafide main eventer to revolve the company around, the likes of which has not been seen since the Attitude Era.
Besides, the Shield's story writes itself as well. The Hounds of Justice in 2018 are back together and are dominating Monday nights with the most amount of screen time. All that has to be done is lay out the foundation of the match next year and then work towards the build starting from now, which is a topic for another day.
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